Trial Hole Excavation on the Cardiff Valley Lines

The Welsh Government project will see the electrification of the Core Valley Lines as well as the Coryton and City Lines through the capital down to Cardiff Bay. Transport for Wales and Amey Keolis gets a cost efficient,productive and safe solution to their problem of excavating 400 trial holes, thanks to the Railcare/Quantum Construction team.

In mid-December 2020 the Cardiff Valley Lines electrification project was guaranteed an all-line 3 week-long blockade, this was in part due to the Covid-19 restrictions on travel and the ability to utilise bus services for the small number of passengers that still needed to use the trains. The blockade meant that the railway would be accessible for works 24hrs a day over a 3 week period commencing on 4th January 2020.

New Methods

Steve Mugglestone was contacted by the responsible Project Directors/Managers from Amey Keolis to ask if Railcare could, at short notice assist them in supplying the Railvac and a small team of operatives to excavate trial holes and investigate the location of a gas main.

The Amey Keolis teams who prior to engaging with us had always employed the “normal methods of excavating trial holes” i.e. numerous manpower teams or traditional excavators undertaking excavation and the normal methods always brought with it slow and labour-intensive production and the risk of cable strikes at any time, Steve says.

Railcare had completed this type of works in Wales previously on the GWEP project but it was the first time that the Amey Keolis team had the opportunity to employ new technology, technology that brings with it the benefits of a safe, cost-effective, and productive method of work. Steve continues:

At short notice we arranged for road haulage of our machine, the installation of a road-rail access point (RRAP), on tracking of the machine, manpower teams to work 24hrs a day, hotel accommodation, work plans, and fuel deliveries to ensure that the works started on time on the 4th of January. The Railvac works started the next day and over the next three weeks we were planned to work 24hrs a day to complete the task.

Great Results

The Railcare/Quantum teams completed the works on time, on budget, and most importantly safely without incident or accident and the project team stated that there has never been a project that was so far in front with trial hole work and most importantly how this enabled them to bring forward and surge ahead with the OHLE structure design and installation phases of the works. Steve Mugglestone again:

The Railvac works also allowed the project team and the local Welsh service providers to find, pinpoint and record the position of the gas main which makes any future work on or around the gas main for rail and service company contractors much safer. Amey Keolis commented on how well the team worked, how professional and proactive they were in their approach to the works, and how well they all conducted themselves throughout.

This is an article from the 2021 Railcarenews.
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